Opinion: In an eventful year, we must remain resilient

Opinion: In an eventful year, we must remain resilient

By Nikki White, head of destination sustainability at Abta

We’re now in the thick of the summer holiday season, and it’s been a very busy year in the UK, and for the travel industry.

The Jubilee brought the first wave of a celebratory atmosphere; with the Olympics it reached fever pitch.

I’ve yet to speak to anyone who hasn’t been moved and inspired by the whole event. For me it started with the opening ceremony.

Not only was that an incredible achievement, but I was hooked when the countries started to come out. What struck me was just how much so many of those countries have been through in the past 12 months.

At Abta we co‑ordinate an industry approach when unexpected events happen and send out that information to members to help inform their decision-making and run sustainable businesses.

I knew it had been a busy 12 months but I was surprised to see that in that time we’ve sent out more than 800 bulletins.

As a reminder, here are just some of the examples.

The Egyptian presidential elections took place. Mohammed Mursi from the Muslim Brotherhood party was elected.

The new government is taking shape, but it’s still a time of great change in Egypt. Significant earthquakes hit Italy and New Zealand.

Three cruise ships experienced significant issues, which had a far-reaching impact on the industry.

And in the Maldives, a change of president prompted political unrest in Malé. Heavy snowfall and avalanches affected part of the European ski programme. There was widespread flooding in Thailand and restricted access to Bangkok.

In Greece the strike action of public sector workers intensified. And in Cyprus there was a large explosion at a naval base between Limassol and Larnaca.

These are just some of the events we have had to respond to, and this is without individual business’s own unexpected events. So where does that leave the industry now?

The eurozone continues to have an impact and yet, while the market has been severely challenged, the British continue to travel. The number of visits abroad has started to become more stable.

It’s hard to predict what will be ahead, though I’m sure it will be challenging and unpredictable. However, the past 12 months have shown the industry’s hard work in developing effective communication channels with destinations and well-rehearsed crisis management processes has paid off.

It will be crucial to build on this work to ensure the industry remains resilient.


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